Dreadful Tales: A Matter of Discretion Part 1

As I mentioned earlier, the Dreadful Tales begin!

Dreadful Tales: A Matter of Discretion

“Surely, Sir, you cannot be serious?” asked the woman in the grey dress.  She crossed her arms, a sure sign of her displeasure.

The object of her incredulity crouched beside an open storm drain, holding a tear-drop shaped piece of lead swaying on the end of a string.  Unseen forces tugged the lead, pulling it towards the open hole.  “Oh, I assure you, Lady Brae, that I do not joke about such endeavors.  Our quarry has descended below, and,” he cast a rakish glance towards her, “if you wish to continue following the trail, below is where we must descend.”

“That’s filthy, disgusting,” she said closing her parasol.

Standing with unhurried grace, the handsome man looked at the city around them.  Tall, soot covered buildings leaned precariously close to each other above their heads.  Foul water dripped from eaves and gutters, while the sweet smell of rot pervaded the alley they stood in.  The ever-present misty shroud that obscured the sun was unusually low today.  The shadows of vast air ships prowled above it, like great whales beneath the surface of a turbulent ocean.  Rats watched them brazenly from a nearby corner.

“Perhaps you haven’t noticed, my Lady, but you have aptly described the whole of Gloomhaven.  Or has our trip through the lower quarters not shown you enough of how those below the spires live?”

Lady Brae sniffed and brushed back a strand of burgundy hair that had strayed from beneath her hat.  “There is no call to be rude.”  She peered over the edge of the hole and then wrinkled her pert nose.  “You haven’t been wrong yet, warlock, so I must take your word for it.”

“Now who is it that’s being rude?”  The man crossed his arms and leaned away from her.  “I thought we were past this.”

Brandishing her parasol, Lady Brae said, “You style yourself as the ‘Gentleman Warlock.’  Why should it displease you if I address you thusly?”

Pushing the tip of her weapon from his face, the man said, “Because you left off the ‘gentleman’ part, first of all.  Secondly, because you know my name.  I would expect a highborn scion like yourself to use it.”

The pair locked eyes for a moment before Lady Brae lowered her parasol.  “You speak truthfully, and I have forgotten myself in the excitement of the chase.  Please accept my apologies, Mr. Silver.”

Mr. Silver took one of her gloved hands and brought it to his grinning lips.  “Apology accepted, Lady Brae,” he said, before planting a kiss on the back of her hand.  A little color rose on her pale cheeks.  “And please, call me Marcus.”

The Gentleman Warlock stepped back and gazed down the hole.  “Now, I’m afraid, there’s nothing for it but to hold one’s nose and jump.”

“I think you’ve gone far enough. Mr. Silver,” she said.  As he looked back to her, she took a deep breath and continued.  “I believe that we must now part ways.  You have performed your duties admirably, but I fear this next part is for me alone to face.  I have made the arrangements already; you shall receive the agreed upon payment for your services.”

“Indeed?” he said, eyebrow raised.  “You wish to go into that dank sewer?  Alone?” Continue reading

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New Ideas

It’s funny how things work out.

The last couple of weeks at work have been quite stressful and draining.  I’ve been going to the gym more in order to try to keep stress levels at a bearable minimum.  And I was sick for a week.  So, the past fortnight has been pretty blergh all around.

However, as I wait for a friendly editor to get back to me with some edits on my manuscript, I was toying with the idea of posting some writing up on this blog.  Then, a couple of characters birthed themselves in my mind.  I’d already come up with a setting idea (though not for a story, for something else entirely) that they would fit in beautifully.

So now I have something to work with.  I’m going to shoot for three short stories based around these characters (no particular reason I picked three, other than it seems like an achievable goal) and will be posting what I write up here.  I’m quite excited about it; the stories will be in a new style for me.

Dark Steampunk, Victoriana, Fantasty mash-up, set in the bleak metropolis of Gloomhaven.

Vampires and Warlocks and Tea Time.

Words, not food

At my day job, I am ‘forced’ to take an hour lunch.  To me, the majority of this time is wasted.  Personally, I’d rather leave at 4:30 and just take a half hour lunch, but that’s not an option.  So, hey ho…

Now, one of the good things is I’m allowed to use the computer for personal business during this time.  Lacking internet access, I originally brought pdfs to read.  Then, one day, I hit upon the idea of working on ‘the other project’.  I’d spend about half an hour each lunch break writing and knock out a few hundred pages.

Well, then that fell apart.  So I decided I would start working on novel number two.  For about 3 extremely productive months, I managed to crank out 500+ words a day on my lunch break.  Novel two is almost 200 pages long because of this ‘wasted’ time.

Then I took a break and went back to the old country for two weeks.  Two weeks away from a daily habit is a long time.  When I returned, I could not quite get my head back into the zone.  Equally, though I had been taking walks as well, I started jogging for 15 or 20  minutes near where I work.  All of this contributed to two things: I wasn’t really writing much any more and I was much more fit than I had been in a long time.

The short story came along, and maybe I just needed a break.  I’ve been cranking out 250-350 words a day for awhile.  As I draw nearer to finishing the story, I’ve found myself speeding up.  Today I managed a massive 600 words!  Due to this, the short story is nearly finished.  I’ve had the first major ‘reveal’ and now all I need is the final climax and she’s a wrap.  Granted I fear it will be a 10000 word ‘short story’ by that point, but c’est la vie.

If I can share any bit of advice to other writers, it is this: take your time to write when and where you can find it.  I’m a captive audience at work.  When I started this job, I brought books to read and read news papers and did other things to fill my time.  While those endeavors were entertaining, they did not get me anywhere.  I find I’m often worn out after work and find it difficult to write.  But lunch time?  That’s my time.  And stick to a regular schedule!  Deviation caused me to drift away from my efforts and I lost my way for awhile, even though before the trip I couldn’t imagine not writing during the day.

I’m going to have to see if I can force myself to put in some time over the holidays.  Wonder how well that will go?